Friday, August 01, 2014

Tips & Tricks about making the best of your time in Croatia

After my trip in Croatia with friends this July, I learned a lot about what we should've done and how best to do it (optimizing for next time). Along the way, felt it would probably be beneficial to others who are planning to visit it to know them as well, specially that now there is a direct flight from Beirut to Dubrovnik for the summer.

Feet Photo with Dubrovnik - Converse


I don't want to make this an endless post, so I will try to put them in few tips:


Lopud Island
Sipan Islan

  1. Rent a car. Yes you can go and stay only in Dubrovnik (which is a magnificent city), yet it you're planning a 7-8 days stay, you might want to explore outside of Dubrovnik as well and a car is perfect, you're at your own pace, you can still do the same excursions and save on the money. Thus, don't forget your international driver's license.
  2. Rent an apartment (either through booking.com or on airbnb.com - reviews help a lot) that has a washing machine, this way you pack light. If you're renting a car, you can be a bit on the hill and enjoy the view, if not, try to be near Lapad area, lots of buses that take you to old town. Also pick a place near a supermarket, it's nice to get a feel of what the city really is by shopping the same way locals do. Most of the apartments you might rent will have an amazing view of the bay and boats, so just make your own coffee and have your own biscuits and have that sacred morning moment.
  3. Make sure you do the islands trip when in Dubrovnik, there are plenty combinations, we did the Sipank / Kolocep / Lopud one. The Islands are so scenic and beautiful, and the water is so clear and refreshing. Keep a swim suit with you at all times (and a hat). Take goggles or mask + snorkel with you. You can also go for a kayak rental in Sipank Island, and also take the golf cart to the long sandy beach, also very beautiful on the other side of the island.
  4. Use google maps to work out the duration you need from city to city. Look up ferry times (http://www.croatiaferries.com/trpanj-ploce-ferry.htm) if you're planning on taking the ferry for better planning, consequently according to all these information you will be able to know which cities you're stopping at and sleeping in.
  5. Say you're doing 7-8 days in Croatia, I recommend you stay the first 2 days / 3 nights, as well as the last day, in Dubrovnik. So on 3rd day drive through Neum (Bosnia) in order to get to Split, but first make sure you stop at Bonaca restaurant and have sea bass, then after you get to Split to spend 2 nights, leave on 3rd day to Sibenik, spend the day and sleep there, then in the morning drive to Ploče, take the ferry to Trpanj and spend a day driving through the Peninsula. Try to find a nice winery to visit (there is a lot, choose one spontaneously), also make a small visit to a city named Ston, there is a huge wall across the hill that you can visit or simply just have your lunch there.
  6. Bonus Food tips: do eat seafood, there is a lot of pizza there (influenced by Italy a lot), make it to Pizza Mirakul in old town Dubrovnik, keep some cash on you (few places don't have credit card machines), swim every chance you can because every area will give you a different and nice experience.
Old Town - Split


Split:
I recommend a maximum of 2 nights in Split and you leave in the morning of 3rd day. First day go to Marjan Park (try to find the beach near the port, very quiet and a beautiful swim among the mountains) then at night go to old town evidently, make sure you go sit in the main square inside old town (Central Dalmatia - photo below), there usually is a guitar player and singer there, everybody just sits there, orders drinks (or bring your own) and sings along. Next morning go to either Plitvice waterfalls or Krka National Park (3 hours and 1 hour away respectively; choose based on how tired / not tired you are). Both are fantastic locations. Another night in Split could be nice (so you can shower and to another walk in old town).

Central Dalmatia in old city Split

Krka National Park


Sibenik:
Head to spend a whole day in Sibenik. It's a very nice small town, and evidently have their own "old town". Try to see if there is an art or film festival happenings, you might be able to catch an interesting event in the dungeons. I recommend a swim, walking through the town, trying out their food, it's a chill city.

Old Town Sibenik


Dubrovnik:
Do the wall walk around the whole city. I didn't get to do that because didn't have time for it. Make sure you check out Cafe Buza, it's not easy to get to, but worth the search, if you can make it sunset time you will be super satisfied you did, totally worth it. Of course, go on a cruise to the islands, kayak, snorkeling. Some live bands playing in the old town, you can just walk around and eventually find a nice place to sit. You can also take a boat every 30 minutes from old town port to Lokrum island, apparently you can see peacocks there.

Cafe Buza - View to Lokrum Island, bar is behind the west wall

Old town Dubrovnik

Old Town Dubrovnik



More links to help you with your planning:
 All photos taken by me.

3 comments:

  1. I remember i visited Sibenik on a school trip once, long time ago :) I loved it, we spent one day in each city but Sibenik was the best

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    Replies
    1. Valeria, agreed! Next time I am definitely staying one night or two in Sibenik

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  2. Wow nice... I'm definitely taking these tips into consideration for my upcoming trip, very helpful!

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